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Case Assignment

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Format: 2020
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LULAC v. Texas (Xavier Rodriguez, W.D. Tex. 5:06-cv-1046)
A federal complaint challenged the exclusion of weekend days from an early voting period for a special congressional runoff election, and the district judge ordered that counties that included parts of the congressional district would have the discretion to extend the early voting period by one day to include a Saturday.
Topics: Early voting; case assignment; attorney fees; malapportionment; three-judge court.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

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Vasquez v. Housing Authority of El Paso (David Briones, W.D. Tex. 3:00-cv-89 and 3:02-cv-456)
Successive federal complaints challenged proscriptions on door-to-door campaigning in housing projects. The district judge found the campaign restrictions reasonable as part of viewpoint-neutral regulations that protect housing projects from criminal activity. A panel of the court of appeals held the proscriptions to be unconstitutional, but the full court voted to rehear the appeal en banc. The second case was filed because the first appeal was dismissed when the appellant died. A second panel of the court of appeals agreed with the district judge that the proscriptions were reasonable.
Topics: Door-to-door canvassing; case assignment.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

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Grinols v. Electoral College (Morrison C. England, Jr., E.D. Cal. 2:12-cv-2997)
Four days before the Electoral College’s vote, a federal complaint challenged the President’s reelection on the grounds that the President allegedly was a citizen of Indonesia. The district court ultimately dismissed the action as a political question. The court of appeals affirmed the dismissal on the ground that the case was moot.
Topics: Enjoining certification; case assignment; Electoral College.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

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Board of County Commissioners v. Duran (1:14-cv-844) and New Mexico ex rel. Salazar v. Duran (1:14-cv-848) (Karen B. Molzen, D.N.M.)
A state’s secretary of state removed two actions to federal court that challenged her refusal to put nonbinding ballot questions on two counties’ ballots, citing federal requirements that she transmit absentee ballots to overseas voters imminently. The parties consented to a magistrate judge’s presiding over the cases, and the judge determined that she did not have federal jurisdiction over the cases, applying the well-pleaded complaint rule. The state court ruled promptly against the secretary of state.
Topics: Getting on the ballot; ballot measure; absentee ballots; case assignment; matters for state courts; Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA).

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Washington State Republican Party v. Reed (Marsha J. Pechman, W.D. Wash. 2:04-cv-2350)
Supporters of a gubernatorial candidate filed a federal complaint over a weekend challenging recount procedures. The Clerk of Court was able to find a judge available to hear the case on an emergency basis, and the judge held a telephonic conference on Sunday. The judge determined that immediate relief was not required because the ballots in question would be preserved for later examination. Litigation in state and federal court continued as the recount continued, and the federal plaintiffs’ candidate ultimately did not prevail.
Topics: Recounts; equal protection; intervention; case assignment; matters for state courts.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Sharpe v. Como (Nicholas G. Garaufis, E.D.N.Y. 1:07-cv-1521)
Because the winner of a special election to fill a city council vacancy did not establish residency in the council district until after the election, the victor declined the victory and the mayor quickly scheduled a new special election, with the ballot-petition-signature collection period to begin immediately. Two prospective candidates filed a federal complaint alleging that they did not have enough notice and time to collect sufficient signatures. The district judge granted relief to one of the plaintiffs, who had collected the greater number of signatures and who had qualified for the first special election.
Topics: Getting on the ballot; case assignment; intervention.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Kaloshi v. New York City Board of Elections (Sterling Johnson, Jr., 1:02-cv-4762), Brown v. New York City Board of Elections (Raymond J. Dearie, 1:04-cv-3662), and Maslow v. Wilson (Edward R. Korman and Nicholas G. Garaufis, 1:06-cv-3683) (E.D.N.Y.)
A district judge ordered a candidate’s name added to a 2002 primary election ballot for state senate on a finding that it was unconstitutional to require that ballot petition signature witnesses be registered members of the party. After the election, the court of appeals vacated the holding, determining that the candidate, who did not prevail in the election, did not have enough signatures to qualify for the ballot after all, even after invalidations for the unconstitutional requirement were taken into account. An action filed in 2004 in the same court challenging the party-membership requirement was unsuccessful, because the second district judge did not agree with the first judge’s conclusion. Neither did a district judge presiding over a case filed in 2006, and the court of appeals affirmed the last judge’s ruling.
Topics: Getting on the ballot; primary election; intervention; matters for state courts; case assignment.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Orgeron v. Quartzsite (Roslyn O. Silver, D. Ariz. 2:12-cv-1238)
A federal complaint challenged the disqualification of a town council election victor for insufficient residency and the disqualification of the mayoral election victor for indebtedness to the city. The district judge ruled in favor of the council victor, but determined that the council victor did not have standing to seek a remedy for the mayoral victor’s injury.
Topics: Enjoining certification; matters for state courts; case assignment.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Willingham v. County of Albany (Norman A. Mordue, 1:04-cv-369) and Hoblock v. Albany County Board of Elections (Lawrence E. Kahn, 1:04-cv-1205) (N.D.N.Y.)
A federal complaint sought an emergency injunction against absentee ballot fraud in an ongoing special election cycle, but the district judge determined that the plaintiffs did not establish a need for immediate federal relief beyond the relief being provided by the state court. At the end of approximately three years of litigation, the case was resolved by consent decrees. Meanwhile, a different federal judge in the same district resolved a dispute over the counting of some absentee ballots by overruling the state’s high court’s rejection of absentee ballots cast by voters who received them because of errors by the election board.
Topics: Absentee ballots; matters for state courts; case assignment; primary election; enjoining certification; class action; attorney fees; intervention; malapportionment.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Herschaft v. New York Board of Elections (1:00-cv-2748) and Herschaft v. New York City Campaign Finance Board (1:00-cv-3754) (Jack B. Weinstein and Carol B. Amon, E.D.N.Y.)
A pro se federal complaint alleged that a six-week period for obtaining ballot petition signatures failed to adequately accommodate a prospective candidate’s history of schizophrenia. A companion complaint challenged contribution reporting requirements for small contributions. Two district judges denied the plaintiff relief.
Topics: Getting on the ballot; campaign finance; pro se party; recusal; case assignment.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

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